Wales 24 def. Lebanon 22
- Match URL
- Thursday, November 2nd, 2000
- Kick Off
- 7:30 PM (local time)
- David Pakieto
- Stradey Park (Llanelli)
by SIMON BIRCHALL
The Wales inspirational captain Iestyn Harris, played a part in all the tries Wales scored in the match, scoring two tries himself and creating the other three, however his team were given a major fright at Stradey Park, Lanelli. Lebanon - crushed 64-0 by tournament second favourites New Zealand four days ago - claimed touchdowns either side of half time from centre Michael Coorey and winger Samer el Masri to eat away at Wales' 18-0 lead. And two tries in three minutes from centre Hassen Saleh during injury time brought Lebanon to within two points of the home side.
At 18-10 up Wales looked as if they could fall victim to a monumental upset, yet up stepped Harris dancing and weaving his way into space and sending substitute Wes Davies over for what turned out to be the match-clinching try. Wales though, will need to improve drastically when they tackle New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium next Sunday, otherwise the Kiwis could run riot.
Hooker Keiron Cunningham joined Harris in orchestrating Lebanon's downfall, but it was a poor overall display which posed far more questions than it provided answers over his ability in international football. Wales shaded the tri-count five to four and if Lebanon had coped better during the opening 20 minutes, then they could well have secured a famous victory.
Driving rain and a swirling wind made conditions difficult for both sides and with Lebanon having seen three players suffer hypothermia during the New Zealand defeat in Gloucester last Sunday, Lebanon could scarcely believe their bad luck on arriving at the ground. Given the miserable weather, it was surprising that a crowd of under 1500 actually turned out to witness Wales' second Group Two fixture, in the terrible weather.
Wales were quickly into their stride, Harris squeezing over in the corner for a try that required the video referee's verdict on seventh minute. There was no sign of how Lebanon would fight back just six minutes later when Harris setup a quick passing along the line saw wing Paul Sterling touch down wide out.
Harris lead again in the 20th minute, working his way over for another try, although once again he failed to land the difficult conversion attempt. It took Lebanon 23 minutes to get out of their own half, yet Wales quickly resumed normal service as Harris again bemused the Lebanon defenders and Cunningham claimed the try for Harris to convert.
Three minutes before the break though, Lebanon opened their account when Correy sprinted 30 metres to the line and skipper Hazem el Masri converted. Three minutes into the second half and Lebanon had further reduced their arrears. Wales' prop Anthony Farrell lost the ball in contact and Samer El Masri kicked ahead to score. The warning signals were flashing quickly for Wales, yet they could do little to life their game.
They made a succession of unforced errors until Harris produced a mesmerising break which Davies finished off by cutting the attacking line superbly. Harris' conversion looked to have made the game safe, but Lebanon were determined to finish with a flourish and they dominated the closing few minutes.
Saleh twice breached the Welsh defence in quick succession - Hazem el Masri converting both tries, but they ran out of time. It was a relieved Wales team that left the field following a display which started promisingly, but finished amid a total air of anticlimax.
This match is a part of the following:
Contributions: Cymru RL
Last modified: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 02:05:26 +1100 (Sydney time)